St.Francis believes that children and parents are entitled to expect courtesy and prompt, careful attention to their needs and wishes. We welcome suggestions on how to improve our services and will give prompt and serious attention to any concerns about the running of the pre-school. Most concerns can be resolved quickly by an informal approach to the appropriate member of staff. If this does not achieve a satisfactory result we have a procedure for dealing with concerns or complaints.
We are required to keep a summary record of all complaints that reach stage 2 or beyond. This is made available to parents and Ofsted inspectors.
Making a Complaint
- Any parent who has a concern about any aspect of the pre-school should talk over, his/her concern with the pre-school co-ordinator/manager
- Most complaints should be resolved amicably and informally at this stage
- If this does not have a satisfactory outcome, or if the problem recurs, the parent should put the concern or complaint in writing to the co-ordinator- manager and chair of committee
- We will keep written complaints in a designated confidential file
- The co-ordinator/manager will investigate the complaint and when this is complete will meet the parent to discuss the outcome
- Parents will be informed of the outcome within 28 days of them making the complaint
- When the complaint is resolved at this stage the summative points are recorded in the complaints summary record
- If the parent is not satisfied with the outcome, he/she can request a meeting with the pre-school co-ordinator/manager and chair of committee. The parent can have a friend or partner present
- An agreed written record of the meeting and discussion is made, this includes any agreed decision or action. All parties present sign the record and will receive a copy
- The signed record signifies that the procedure has concluded. The summative points are recorded in the complaints summary record
- If at the stage 3 meeting all parties cannot reach an agreement, an external mediator is invited to help settle the complaint. This person should be acceptable to both parties, listen to both sides and offer advice. The mediator has no legal powers, but can help define the problem and suggest ways to resolve the issues
- The mediator must keep all discussions confidential, he/she can hold separate meetings with the pre-school staff, co-ordinator, chair of committee and the parent, if this is helpful. The mediator keeps written records of any meetings and any advice given
- When the mediator has concluded his/her investigation a final meeting between the parents, co-ordinator/manager and chair of committee is held. The purpose of this meeting is to reach a final decision on the action to be taken to deal with the complaint. The mediator’s advice is used to reach this conclusion. He/she is present at this meeting if this will help a decision to be reached.
- A record of this meeting, including the decision on the action to be taken, is made. Everyone present signs the record and receives a copy. This signifies that the procedure has concluded.
- Complaints regarding child protection issues will be referred to the groups DSL and dealt with inline with our Safeguarding Policy. All other criminal activities will be referred to the police.
If you wish to appeal, you must inform the pre-school co-ordinator within 7 days, clearly setting out the grounds for appeal. An appeal meeting will then be arranged.
The Role of the Office of Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) and the Local Safeguarding Children Board
- Parents can approach Ofsted directly at any stage of the complaints procedure. In particular, where there seems to be a possible breach of the pre-school registration requirements. It is essential to involve Ofsted as the registering and inspection body with a duty to ensure the welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage are adhered to
- If a child appears to be at risk, we follow the procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children Board in our local authority
- In these cases, both the parent and pre-school are informed and the co-ordinator/manager works with Ofsted or the LSCB to ensure a proper investigation of the complaint
The number to call Ofsted with regard to complaints is displayed on the pre-school notice board.